10 Weeks volunteering in an Orphanage in Cape Town

I have always been interested in foreign cultures and countries. So I didn’t have to think about it for a long time – after my fourth semester of university I decided to go abroad. And where else to go than to the supposed to be wonderful “mother city” Cape Town

After a long and very exhausting flight my arrival at Cape Town was quiet disillusioning: it was cloudy and cold. Nevertheless my first impression of Observatory – my home for the next few weeks and the student’s hood per se – was really pleasant. Especially the Lower Main Road with all its cafes, bars and various shops reflected the South African charm in its very best.

Anyway there was no time for sight-seeing as my work at the Muslim children’s home would start on the very next day. Already on my way to the institution I realized that my time in Cape Town would be full of adventures since all of the inhabitants were really open-minded and chatty. Arrived at the children’s home I was welcomed really warm-hearted and friendly. My first task consisted of practicing the names of all the staff as well as of the 35 kids (and their names aren’t as usual as we know it in Germany!) so that I know them by heart.

In this week I had to do various administrative tasks or some housekeeping. In the morning we were in charge of fundraising; at noon the kids came back from school so we had to take care of them supporting the kids with their homework or playing games with the little ones. But the highlight of the week was the shopping trip with an American donator who organized a small party at the end of Ramadan.

During the next weeks we had a lot of different tasks who consisted for example of: creating various conceptions for the whole staff of the NGO, taking care of donations, meeting potential future correspondents for the organization, making plans about the alimentation of the kids and so on. But – of course – we played, practiced, danced and joked with the kids. We painted pictures with chalks, studied some new songs, did some handicraft work: every week had another motto!

The seventh week for example was the “motivation week” where we built a “wall of fame” where every month the well-behaved kids were honored. Furthermore we also helped the children practicing different subjects like Mathematics or English. What really posed a problem was the lack of toys! We’ve almost never seen a ball rolling over the court or any other toys being used, because they were locked in a room not accessible for the kids.

Apart from all these things I finally had to (as time was running…) organize my own farewell party with some small presents and games for the kids. Moreover I was in charge of preparing all the documents for my follower. Finally my last week in Cape Town was about to come: we had a small party and the kids enjoyed a self-made dessert; my 10-weeks-volunteering was finished.

Every experience I’ve made during this stay affected my in a very intense way and changed my way of thinking. Furthermore I can tell you that Cape Town is just full of various attractions. There’s not just Table Mountain but also just the beautiful sea with its stunning beaches, endless bars and clubs are reflecting the mentality of South Africa. The locals are incredibly friendly and relaxed. This is infectious!

Not to forget the food: there a countless possibilities to have a delicious but cheap meals. You can even find special meals like Ethiopian food or Biscuit Mill. But as a manner of course you have to visit the typical tourist’s destinations when you’re going to Cape Town: Cape of Good Hope, Wine-Tasting-Tours and so on.

Cape Town just offers you everything the heart desires: safari, shark diving, partying in the clubs with locals. Whoever wants to do a journey getting to know such a crew of different mentalities, cultures, attractions and different people – go for Cape Town: it will be your perfect destination!